How To Storyboard Your Instagram Stories + Why You Should

When I was in college, I took a videography class with one of my all time favorite teachers, Marc Havener. Marc was the first person to open my eyes to the power of  m o v e m e n t  when crafting visual messages that resonate. In his class, Marc introduced me to the process of visual storyboarding.

Storyboarding is the process of illustrating a sequence of elements and events as a means to organize and plan a visual storyline.

I’ll admit, as a young creative just bursting with ideas, I dragged my feet a bit on what I thought was a waste of time. Girl, I was so wrong! Now looking back on it, I discovered through the process of storyboarding, my ability to successfully tell a logical and cohesive story.

Since the launch of Instagram Stories a few months back, we have been using this tried and true method for planning our Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories are here to stay + are a great way to engage with your audience. But without a little strategy they can come across as sloppy + uninspired. Click to see our tips on how to use a storyboard to create the best Instagram story for your brand + download our free storyboard template!

Why Storyboard Your Instagram Stories?

Have you ever watched a not-so-great movie and found yourself thinking “did I miss something?” A poor plot with holes in it and loose-ends can leave you feeling frustrated and certain of two things–

  • You wouldn’t watch this movie again if someone paid you

  • You’re telling everyone who will listen, this move is rotten!

Truth time, ask yourself– are my Instagram Stories rotten?

In most-instances it’s not for lack of trying or poor quality that gives your Stories one star reviews. But rather, it’s the holes in your plot and loose-ends that send your audience home early. The next time you plan to premier your Instagram Stories, use the process of storyboarding to ensure a box office hit!

3 Creative + Curated Instagram Stories

Before we dive into how to craft your first storyboard, let’s preview a few Oscar-worthy Instagram Stories! Cue the lights and grab your popcorn!

How To Storyboard Your Instagram Stories

Okay, time to get creative! Follow these steps to storyboard your Instagram Stories

Step One: Print Our Handy Template

Step Two: Choose Your Main Topic/Theme

Feeling stuck? Here’s some ideas! 11 Creative Ways To Use Instagram Stories For Business [E-Book Included!]

Step Three: Set a Goal!

Just as movies are reviewed and rated by critics, you’ll want to measure the success of your Instagram Stories. To do so, you need to start with an end goal to shoot for. For example, if your main topic for your Instagram Stories is to drive traffic to a blog post, then your goal could be to garner 10 click throughs.

To measure how much traffic is coming from your Instagram Stories, you can use a trackable link, such as bitly to a count the clicks.

#socialstudiotip: get more eyes on your Instagram Stories by sharing an Instagram post that on the same day that prompts your audience to checkout your Stories! More eyes = more click throughs!

Step Four: Outline Your Storyboard

I find it most helpful to start with a written outline. Focusing first on what you want to say, then you can determine how you’ll say it.

Here’s an example…

Let’s say we want to share an Instagram Stories promoting this blog post. Our outline could look like this–

  1. Ask a question to tease the importance of planning Instagram Stories

  2. #socialstudiotip about Instagram Stories

  3. Blog post headline

  4. Call-to-action to click the link in our bio to learn more

  5. Sneak peek of our Socialite Storyboard Template

  6. Second call-to-action to click the link in our bio to download the template

  7. Ask our Socialites to chat in their Instagram Stories questions

You’ll notice in our outline that we provide three calls-to-action throughout (can you spot them?). The reason is three-fold–

  • Skimmers can get to the content they want without having to watch the entire Story (although we hope they would!).

  • We are able to add in more teasers in between each call-to-action. Essentially sweetening the pot more each time.

  • Our final call-to-action is a community builder. We open up the floor for our Socialites to have a one-on-one conversation with us which builds trust in our brand and establishes credibility.

Step Five: Get Visual!

Now that you have your outline, it’s time to bring in the visual components. How do you envision this story unfolding? The possibilities are endless! Here’s a few quick tips to keep in mind–

  • Less is more: try to keep your entire story under ten frames if at all possible. The more frames you have, the higher your drop off rate will be.

  • Keep your brand in mind: if you’re an avid watcher of our Instagram Stories you’ll notice our branding is weaved throughout (just as it is on every element to our Instagram). Elements to look for–

    • Our signature pink

    • Light, bright imagery

    • Spacing in our characters

    • Emojis + symbols

#socialstudiotip: watch this video to create a custom color background in Instagram Stories!

  • Mix it up: one way to hold attention throughout the duration of your Instagram Stories is to switch up the content and the style of each frame. Keep things interesting by peppering in still images, video, and graphics.

Step Six: Finishing Touches

Last and final step, here’s when you’ll plan out exactly what you plan to say (or type) on each frame. Keeping in mind your brand, your goal(s) and your voice.

#socialstudiotip: have a lot to say? Give your audience the heads up! If they tap and hold on any frame, they can view it as long as they want!

#socialtudiotip: be careful where you place your text! You don’t want any important information getting cut off by your bio pic or the “send message” button!

And that’s how it’s done! Don’t forget to snag our Socialite Storyboard Template here! Happy storytelling!